"The Muppets" proved a surprise hit this month with moviegoers, not only for its appeal to children, but perhaps because it taps into adults' fond memories of the original TV show (not to mention their earlier memories of "Sesame Street.") I saw the movie this weekend and was delighted at how well the screenwriter (actor Jason Segel) combined adult humor (not racy, just adult) with a fun story for kids. Kamaria B. Porter reviews it this week in our online Culture section:
"The Muppets" feels both familiar and wonderfully fresh. Segel, who co-wrote the film, is a huge fan of the Muppets, as evidenced by his homage in the 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” The film subtly explores how our passions shape us. Walter's love for the Muppets has defined his life, and working with Kermit becomes the fulfillment of so many dreams. As he tells Kermit, "You're my hero. You're on my [wrist] watch." Though Walter seems content to help backstage, the compassionate frog pushes him to create a new act for the show. Despite having helped to reunite the Muppets, Walter feels unworthy to perform with them. When Walter discovers his talent, he finds the self-confidence to act on his dreams and become a part of the group.
The film skillfully portrays the relationship between entertainers and fans. Fans have something to give the people they adore, especially when the world has forgotten them. Walter constantly reminds Kermit of the impact he has had on his many fans. In Walter, Kermit can see his influence not just on the young fan but also on the world. And with Kermit's encouragement, Walter finally finds his place as a Muppet. That kind of love, sometimes maligned as fanaticism, is handled with respect.
Read the full review here.